2 UMSL students spend the summer in Florence

by | Aug 6, 2015

Kate Ligon (left) and Alexa Benson enrolled in classes this summer at the Santa Reparata International School of Art.
Kate Login (left) will graduate from UMSL Aug. 8 and Alexa Benson, a UMSL junior majoring in English, enrolled in classes this summer at the Santa Reparata International School of Art in Florence, Italy. (Photo by Dan Younger)

Kate Ligon (left), who will graduate from UMSL on Aug. 8, and Alexa Benson, a UMSL junior majoring in English, enrolled in classes this summer at the Santa Reparata International School of Art in Florence, Italy. (Photo by Dan Younger)

Story submitted by Maureen Zegel

This summer, two students crossed paths far from their homes in St. Louis. What they learned in a month will last them a lifetime.

Kate Ligon decided she was going to finish her college career with one last class from the University of Missouri–St. Louis, doing what she loves to do – taking photos and traveling. Alexa Benson, a UMSL junior majoring in English, hit the halfway point in her college career this summer and took her first trip abroad. Both women met up in Florence, Italy.

Ligon and Benson enrolled in summer classes offered through UMSL at the Santa Reparata International School of Art in Florence, Italy. Ligon will graduate Aug. 8 with a degree in Liberal Studies.

“This is my third trip to Europe,” said Ligon, who enrolled in “Exploring Florence Through Photography,” a class taught by Dan Younger, professor of art at UMSL. Ligon was one of 14 students from all over the U.S. taking the class.

“My focus was on street photography because it can describe a place and show how beautiful it is,” she said. “I photographed bicycles in Italy and looked at them from different perspectives. Bicycles are everywhere in Italy, so many more than the U.S.”

Benson enrolled in two courses at SRISA, an international economics class and another class marketing the Italian wine industry.

“I didn’t know what to expect in the economics class, which covered pre-agriculture to post World War II,” she said.

The professor, an international economist, included current events and tied what the class was reading into what’s going on today in the European Union.

“In the course of a month, I learned how to be more flexible, had fun, saw incredible art and studied more than I thought I would. It was an incredible experience,” said Benson.

In addition to summer courses, SRISA offers university-level undergraduate courses throughout the year in a variety of areas. All classes, with the exception of Italian, are taught in English.

For more information on UMSL’s program at SRISA, contact Nate Dougherty, coordinator of programs and project support in International Studies and Programs, at 314-516-6497 or by email at daughertyn@umsl.edu.


Maureen Zegel worked in University Marketing and Communications from 1995 to her retirement in June 2014. Among her many duties, she wrote numerous stories for UMSL Daily.

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